Tribute to Editor Lynn Margulis
From Indivisible Earth: Consequence of Earth's Early Formation as a Jupiter-Like Gas Giant
by J. Marvin Herndon
Lynn Margulis (March 5, 1938 � November 22, 2011) was renowned and appreciated throughout the world as one of the foremost evolutionary biologists. She originated the �serial endosymbiotic theory� that offered a startling new view of evolution and posed a new explanation for the origin of nuclei-containing cells. Her seminal paper on the subject was rejected or lost by 15 journals until it was published in 1966 by the Journal of Theoretical Biology, under her married name Lynn Sagan (Mrs. Carl Sagan). Even after publication, there was scorn and rejection by the scientific community. But finally, through hard work, imaginative science, extensive writings, and emerging laboratory confirmation, she became prominent. Among her many accolades, she was awarded the 1999 National Medal of Science from U. S. President William J. Clinton and was invited to have her documents permanently archived in the U. S. Library of Congress. So how, one might ask, did Lynn Margulis come to edit the present work?
Lynn Margulis (image left), a prodigious writer since youth, harbored the belief that science should be explained in an understandable way to all interested persons. She put that belief into practice with numerous publications, including a series of books co-authored with her son, Dorion Sagan. Her scientific approach was to envision the Earth as a whole, rather than as unrelated segments spread among various scientific specialties. That philosophy attracted her to my work. She suggested that, if I would write a manuscript, she would edit it. So, I agreed, without fully understanding what I was getting into.
Decades before, as a post-doctoral apprentice to Nobel Laureate Harold C. Urey and Hans E. Suess, I learned to make important scientific discoveries and to describe them precisely in the scientific literature. I write well; over the years, editors have only made minor wordage suggestions. But then along came Lynn Margulis. Numerous drafts and re-writes. Sometimes her corrections resembled a Jackson Pollack painting (image left). Occasionally, scribbled in the margins, would be a special jewel, like her remark, "May be the most important paper I have ever edited because it covers Earth-sized phenomena over 4,000,000,000 years. That's a 'Big Picture' to consider (& quantitatively!!)"
While making the subject of my work understandable to a great many people, Lynn Margulis helped me to see clearly its context and to broaden my scientific outlook. So now, enjoy understanding Indivisible Earth: Consequences of Earth's Early Formation as a Jupiter-like Gas Giant.
Publisher no longer in business. Will soon publish Second Edition with a different publisher. Indivisible Earth: Consequences of Earth's Early Formation as a Jupiter-Like Gas Giant, by J. Marvin Herndon and edited by Lynn Margulis (right)
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